The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) today participated in the launch of National Preparedness Month by providing consumers with tips for bottled water and drinking water supplies for emergency situations. IBWA and the bottled water industry also took the opportunity to honor the survivors and victims of Hurricane Katrina and reflect upon lessons learned by underscoring the critical need for clean drinking water for affected communities.
In response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the bottled water industry provided millions of servings of bottled water to survivors and rescue personnel. As a result of this event, IBWA developed the online IBWA Emergency Response Directory (ERD), which contains a list of organizations and government agencies responsible for emergency and disaster response activities. IBWA members and other interested parties can successfully navigate the proper channels and help provide bottled water and other resources to those in need by downloading the ERD at http://www.bottledwater.org/public/downloads/erd.pdf.
IBWA is a coalition member of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) fourth annual National Preparedness Month. This national recognition, which is held each September, encourages Americans to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses and communities. For more information about National Preparedness Month, visit www.ready.gov.
According to DHS guidelines, all households should maintain an emergency supply of water -- at least one gallon per person per day for three days -- for drinking, cooking, and personal hygiene -- in the event that public drinking water service is interrupted or if its safety is compromised during an emergency event.
IBWA provides the following tips to consumers to help ensure the safety of emergency water supplies:
• Store bottled water at a constant room temperature or cooler, if possible. Room temperature is defined by the US Pharmacopeia as being between 59-86 degrees Fahrenheit.
• Store bottled water out of direct sunlight.
• Keep the water containers away from solvents and chemicals such as gasoline, paint thinners, household cleaners and dry cleaning chemicals.
• If consumers choose to store tap water in their own containers, select appropriate containers and disinfect them before use. Never use a container once held toxic substances. Rinse the container with a diluted chlorine bleach solution (one part bleach to ten parts water) before use.
5. If necessary, treat tap water with a chlorine bleach solution before storing it to prevent buildup of harmful bacteria.
• The same bottled water storage recommendations (items 1-3) also apply to tap water stored in containers.
• You should replace stored water every six months. The American Red Cross and the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency offer tips for treating water at www.redcross.org.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates bottled water as a packaged food product, there is no shelf life for properly stored and safety-sealed bottled water.
"The International Bottled Water Association recognizes that consumers must have access to safe, clean drinking water during emergency situations. Smart planning and preparing for one's water needs can make a big difference in a person's health and well being and ability to recover from an emergency situation," Doss concluded.